Are My APs Enough?

I was just wondering whether colleges would be satisfied with how I’m challenging myself. So far in my sophomore year, my only AP is in world history. Here’s my plan for the rest of my years:

Junior year
English 11H
AP Calculus BC
Physics H
US History 1 (Academic)
Choir H
AP Biology
AP Chemistry

Senior year
English 12H
Multivariable calc DE
AP Physics C
AP Government
Choir H
AP Computer Science A
AP Statistics

Straying away from grades + ECs and focusing on the amount of challenging course load given, would I be competitive for top 20 colleges? Thanks!

Physics, Bio & Chem all at the same time? Is there space in the school day to fit all 3 in, since they’re lab classes (presumably double periods)?

I don’t see foreign language listed; What do you have thus far for a foreign language?

Have you asked your GC whether s/he would check the “most rigorous” box based on this schedule?

A few comments:

  1. Yes, your schedule looks rigorous but the best person to ask is your guidance counselor, not any one of us. Rigor is relative to what is offered in your HS. The top tier colleges will want to see the guidance counselor check the box on the recommendation saying you have taken the most rigorous course-load available at your HS (which doesn't mean taking every AP class -- there is often some latitude in this). If the guidance counselor says that your prior and current HS schedules are sufficient to get that most rigorous box checked then you are fine.
  2. I'd strongly caution against taking 3 sciences in the same year.
  3. I see no foreign language. Have you completed level 4 of HS language already? If not you need to add that to your schedule. Most top schools recommend or require 3 - 4 years of foreign language (which means completing HS level 3 or 4 of one foreign language). Preferring science to foreign language is not an acceptable reason to drop foreign language from your schedule - HS is the time to get a broad education, college is the time to specialize
  4. A rigorous schedule without high grades, meaningful and in-depth ECs, excellent LORs, strong essays etc. will get your nowhere. Be careful not to overload your HS academic schedule and put other important criteria at risk. Also keep in mind that you will also need time to prepare for standardized tests next year.
  5. Per another post your GPA has gone down this semester. Again, I caution you against overloading especially considering the fact that you are not breezing through sophomore year with all A's.
  6. Any elite college (with acceptance rates often in the single digits) should be considered a reach for any unhooked applicant. When the time comes (junior year) be sure to also search out a group of match and safety (non T-20) schools that appear affordable (run net price calculators) and that you would be excited to attend. They ARE out there.

I doubt honors physics is going to be sufficient preparation for AP Physics C. You may want to talk to your guidance counselor about that. Also, you may be taking more APs senior year, but most of them are less rigorous than AP Bio & AP Chem, basically a step down in rigor. Your schedule indicates you might not have a thorough understanding of what selective colleges are really looking for.

I suppose it depends upon the HS curriculum, but in theory, honors physics is more than enough physics preparation for AP Physics C.

But the taking of 3 sciences concurrently with no foreign language, while struggling with the GPA (based on past posts) is not a recipe for success for top colleges.

Honors Physics is almost always the predecessor to Physics C in my experience. What else do you think would be needed?

I agree that three sciences is not a good idea. Especially with two of them as APs, in a schedule with 3 APs, two of them among the hardest, having only ever taken one (one of the easier) AP course.

Maybe AP CSP and a language/elective, then decide on which of the sciences you like and take that as a Senior.

To all the people concerned about my grades, actually got my gpa up to a 3.9 last quarter and I’m getting As and A+s through this quarter too! :smiley: it was mostly just a matter of my study habits. And to people asking about my 4 French credits, I’m in French 4 right now and so I’d be completing my four French credits at the end of this year. Thanks for the advice on the three sciences, though! I just wanted to get a rigorous schedule without doing AP US history or AP Language since history and English are the areas I struggle in the most.

T20 colleges are also looking for students who challenge themselves by taking courses outside their comfort zone.

On top of that, AP Lang will help you become a better writer which will be invaluable in writing application essays. Many AOs have been known to send a note to accepted applicants saying how much they enjoyed the essays. I’ve yet to encounter an applicant receiving a note commending them on taking every AP science.

As I mentioned in my earlier post (post #2, comment 1), it will go back to if your guidance counselor is willing to check the box saying you have taken the most rigorous classes offered in your HS if you don’t take APUSH or APLanguage. There is some latitude in this designation but your guidance counselor’s opinion is the important one. Top colleges will want to see that most rigorous box checked so work with your guidance counselor as you create your future schedules.

I’m in French 4 now, so I’d be completing 4 years of language. I also made sure that I’d have enough room for 3 sciences.

“Honors Physics is almost always the predecessor to Physics C in my experience. What else do you think would be needed?”

In most schools, Honors Physics is a step down from AP Physics 1, although I guess technically AP Physics 1 IS Honors Physics in schools that only offer choices of AP or CP. Our high school requires AP Physics 1 & 2 as prerequisites to C (though I realize the College Board says 1 is sufficient - but even just AP P1 could cover more than honors level, if the two are differentiated). Physics 1 (in our school) is primarily devoted to Mechanics, which is only the first half of the year of C. They have found that without 2, the kids struggle with E&M.

Which is why, IMO, the CB (and the high schools that drank the Kool-Aid) did honors students a disservice when they replaced Physics B with Physics 1/2.

Honors Physics (assuming a HS follows a standard curriculum) will cover mech, E&M, plus waves, modern physics and other topics not covered in C. So those students will have a much better breath preparation than those that only have had AP Physics 1. And the number of schools that offer AP Physics 2 is a small fraction of those that offer AP Physics 1. And I will also point out that AP Physics 1/2 only started in 2015; I doubt that the students who took AP Physics C in the decades prior to 2015 who took honors physics first were unprepared.

So your kid may have been better prepared by having 1/2, but relatively few kids will have had that preparation. And bully for him/her. But without knowing the kid that is the OP, or the teachers, or the school, I find it terribly irresponsible to say “I doubt honors physics is going to be sufficient preparation for AP Physics C.”